Why do I have to pay child support if I have equal parenting time?
Here are some of the reasons why you may be ordered to pay child support even though you have equal parenting time. Arizona Child Support Guidelines are set up to guarantee both parents have sufficient economic resources to meet their child’s needs and to help ensure the child maintains a relatively similar quality of life under both parent’s care.
Difference in Income
The most common reason why child support is ordered in equal parenting time situations is due to a difference in income between the parents. In Arizona, child support is calculated with a standard formula, set forth in the 2022 Arizona Child Support Guidelines. The most important aspect of the calculation with equal parenting time is the income of the parents. If you make significantly more than the other parent, it is likely you will be ordered to pay the other parent child support, even if the parenting time is equal.
Health Insurance Payments
You may be ordered to pay child support despite having equal parenting time and similar incomes if the other parent pays the monthly health insurance premiums for the minor child. In the child support calculation, the parent paying for the child’s health insurance is given credit for the amount they pay for health insurance toward the cost of raising the child.
Another possible reason you might have to pay child support is if one parent is paying more for the educational needs of the minor child. This may include private school tuition, special education expenses, or for other developmental needs for the child. The Court is not required to include these expenses, but often does when the paying parent shows good cause to include them in the support calculation.
You may be ordered to pay child support because the other parent may receive additional credits on the child support worksheet for other caregiving expenses. These credits may include child support payments for a child from another relationship or credit for travel expenses for the child.
Finally, even though the child support worksheet may show that you are not supposed to pay the other party child support, the parties can agree to deviate child support to an agreed upon amount. In order for child support to be deviated, there must be a clear agreement between the parents or have the finding made by a Judge. In both situations, it must be found that a deviation is in the minor child’s best interest.
Child support is always modifiable. If either parent’s circumstances materially change, either party may file to modify child support.